Did you know that the Gulf of Mexico, just like the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, has bottlenose dolphins? These are the most well-known dolphins in the world, made iconic by the hit TV show, Flipper.
But now we’re learning that these dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico, which is about 30 percent of the U.S. population, are dying. Since early 2010,over 1,300 dying or dead marine mammals, mostly dolphins, including juveniles and aborted fetuses, have washed ashore from Texas to Florida, or found floating in Gulf waters.
While it’s not as obvious as finding a turtle or bird covered in oil, scientists have connected these deaths with the BP oil spill, noting that in some parts of the Gulf, it will take up to 50 years for these populations to bounce back. That’s if we give them the space and time to do so.
The BP oil explosion happened on seafloor that was leased out by the federal government, under President Obama. The U.S. has been leasing out offshore acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas corporations since the 1950s, and suffering oil spills since. As a result of this activity, not only are there significant impacts to marine life, but there’s been longtime impacts to the people of the Gulf: poor health from oil refinery pollution, contaminated waters from spills and abandoned oil wells, displacement of families as coastal wetlands disappear. And most recently, catastrophic flooding related to climate change, where tens of thousands lost their homes.
As one longtime Louisiana resident and community leader, Anne Rolfes said, “Thousands of oil spills, sinking lands and extreme weather creating turmoil for countless people. What more will convince the Obama administration to stop treating the Gulf like a sacrifice zone to fossil fuel interests?”
Since he took office, President Obama has leased out over 15 million acres to oil and gas companies. Next March, the Obama Administration plans to offer up 47 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for fossil fuel extraction. And he’s continuing to follow the same course onshore, in some of the wildest most beautiful lands in the U.S.
It’s time to tell the President that this needs to stop. When dolphins are unable to birth healthy live pups, this has gone too far. When people develop cancer from nearby oil refinery pollution, this has gone too far. And when the climate is screaming at us with winds, rains, and unprecedented flooding, this has gone too far.
Join us in sending a message to the President to protect our communities and climate. Let’s give the bottlenose dolphin a chance to come back, and a habitat where we all can thrive.
Image source: Willyam Bradberry/Shutterstock